Red River Gorge-Muir Valley

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Since we first visited Muir Valley some two years ago, Laurel and I have developed a great fondness for this pristine and responsibly developed climbing area.  Rick and Liz Weber had a vision and guided this marvel to its fruition.  It is the “smartest” developed area in the United States.



This is Johnny’s wall, where some very grippy Corbin sandstone feels like hand therapy for which chicks in New York would pay hundreds of dollars.


Laurel was bringing her Mojo from Rifle, Colorado a week or so ago.  It is to my benefit that she has been in a climbing frame of mind.  We took off Friday and arrived in Kentucky just as the rains subsided and brought in a much needed cool front that made for perfect climbing conditions.


We found a great camping spot just minutes from the valley floor.


It may seem dichotomous, but this is fun warm up.  I spent most of my time on lower grade climbs but did flail around on two 5.10 a/b’s


The walls we visited were: Bruise Brothers, Sunnyside Wall (pictured here), Guide Wall, Practice Wall and one of my new favorites, The Land before Time. There is so much to visit at Muir Valley, it could take weeks to hit the major areas.  Honestly, I prefer this Corbin Sandstone to granite like that found in Rifle, Colorado.


We were blessed with perfect mid summer weather wherein the temps didn’t hit 80 degrees.  We made some great friends who may or may not have retrieved gear for me.  I saw a good deal of wildlife and we had an epic John Quillen snake tale.  And here it goes.

Muir Valley and the RRG is in a very remote section of Kentucky. Rolling hills, horse barns, green grass and breathtaking valleys are just a slice of the pastoral bliss to be found in this relaxing part of Appalachia.  I grew up in a smallish town and have always been connected to the land as a child of the rolling hills who romped around in lakes and streams and hills.  Therefore it wasn’t a great surprise when, as we departed the crag Saturday afternoon, fully arm pumped and smiling from a blessed day on the rocks.  Driving back up from the valley floor we rounded a corner and two shirtless boys stepped trepidly upon the road, oblivious to our approach or in spite of, I wasn’t certain.  I slowed to allow the first guy to cross and the second boy, clad in a camaflouge cap and tight jeans, hesitated as his older friend skipped to the other side of the road.  We crept by and soon realized the purpose of their mission across the street.  Kentuckian#1 reached into the grass and picked up a freshly shot copperhead that dangled from his armpit to the ground.  This was a healthy snake and they wished to share this prize with all passers-by.  It was a healthy copperhead that must have, unfortunately, crossed into the yard and was quickly dispatched.

Thus was the story of the snake that crossed our path this week.

Bad luck for the snake.  But good luck for us.  Thanks to Muir Valley for never disappointing.



Ya’ll come back now, Ya hear!


  1. AJ

    Looks like a fun time with Laurel. Hope you two are doing well.